Valérie Pécresse

Valérie Pécresse (French pronunciation: [valeʁi pekʁɛs]; née Roux, 14 July 1967) is a French politician serving as President of the Regional Council of Île-de-France since 2015. A member of Soyons libres (SL), which she founded in 2017 before she left The Republicans (LR), she was the Member of the National Assembly for the 2nd constituency of Yvelines from 2002 to 2007 and again from 2012 to 2016, Minister of Higher Education and Research from 2007 to 2011 and Minister of Budget and Government Spokeswoman from 2011 to 2012.

Valérie Pécresse
President of the Regional Council
of Île-de-France
Assumed office
18 December 2015
Preceded byJean-Paul Huchon
Minister of the Budget
In office
29 June 2011  10 May 2012
Prime MinisterFrançois Fillon
Preceded byFrançois Baroin
Succeeded byJérôme Cahuzac
Government Spokeswoman
In office
29 June 2011  15 May 2012
Prime MinisterFrançois Fillon
Preceded byFrançois Baroin
Succeeded byNajat Vallaud-Belkacem
Minister of Higher Education and Research
In office
18 May 2007  29 June 2011
Prime MinisterFrançois Fillon
Preceded byFrançois Goulard
Succeeded byLaurent Wauquiez
Member of the National Assembly
for Yvelines's 2nd constituency
In office
20 June 2012  20 January 2016
Preceded byYves Vandewalle
Succeeded byPascal Thévenot
In office
19 June 2002  19 July 2007
Preceded byFranck Borotra
Succeeded byYves Vandewalle
Personal details
Valérie Roux

(1967-07-14) 14 July 1967 (age 53)
Neuilly-sur-Seine, France
Political partySoyons libres (since 2019)
Other political
Rally for the Republic (until 2002)
Union for a Popular Movement (2002–2015)
The Republicans (2015–2019)
Jérôme Pécresse
(m. 1994)
EducationLycée Sainte-Geneviève
Alma materHEC Paris
École nationale d'administration

Since 2020, Pécresse has been discussed in news media as potential candidate for the 2022 presidential election.[1]

Education and early career

Pécresse is the daughter of prominent economist Dominique Roux who taught at Université Paris Dauphine and later served as CEO of Bolloré.[2] She has law degrees from HEC Paris and ÉNA.[3] She speaks French, English, Russian and Japanese.[4][5]

Pécresse was an auditor of the Conseil d'État until 1998, when she was designated counselor to President Jacques Chirac.[6][7]

Political career

Early beginnings

In June 2002, Pécresse was elected deputy for Yvelines (2nd constituency). She was also elected regional counselor of Île-de-France in 2004. Pécresse was also the spokeswoman of the party in Yvelines.

Career in national politics

In addition to her activities in local politics, Pécresse served as a Member of the National Assembly of France from 2002 until 2007.[8] In parliament, she was a member of the Committee on Constitutional Affairs (2002-2005) and the Committee on Cultural Affairs (2005-2007).[9] In 2004, she became the spokeswoman for Nicolas Sarkozy, who was then leader of the UMP.[10]

From 2007 until 2011, Pécresse served as Minister of Higher Education and Research in the cabinet of Prime Minister François Fillon. During her time in office, she launched many reforms in an effort to give universities a greater degree of autonomy over their resources and open the way for more private sector financing. The reforms caused a wave of strikes.[11][12]

In 2009, the Académie de la Carpette anglaise, an organization that opposes the spread of the English language in Francophone countries, gave Pécresse the Prix de la Carpette Anglaise ("English Doormat Prize") for having refused to speak French at international meetings in Brussels, Belgium; Pécresse had stated that English was the easiest means of communication.[13]

At the same time, Pécresse was described by the Financial Times as one of the most successful of Sarkozy’s ministers and considered as a candidate to succeed Christine Lagarde as Minister of the Economy and Finance in 2011.[14]

From 2011 until 2012, Pécresse served as the government's spokeswoman and as Minister of Budget, Public Accounts and State Reform in Fillon's third cabinet, succeeding François Baroin.[15][16] In this capacity, she opposed increases in the EU budget for 2013.[17] In the 2011 local elections, she notably went against official party line, led by then UMP leader Jean-François Copé, not to direct the party’s supporters how to vote; instead, she said she would rather vote for the Socialist Party (PS) in the case of a runoff against the National Front (FN).[18]

After the defeat of Nicolas Sarkozy in the 2012 French presidential election, Pécresse remained a key member of the Union for a Popular Movement (UMP) and its successor, the Republicans (LR). She returned to the National Assembly, where she served on the Finance Committee from 2012 until 2016.[19] In September 2014, she joined Fillon, Étienne Blanc, Éric Ciotti and Pierre Lellouche on an official trip to Iraq.[20]

President of the Regional Council of Île-de-France

In December 2015, Pécresse led a list of candidates of the Union of the Right, a coalition of centrist and right-wing parties, which narrowly won the Île-de-France regional election, defeating the Union of the Left, a coalition of socialists and ecologists. She became the first woman to hold the office of president of the Regional Council of Île-de-France.[citation needed]

In the party’s 2016 presidential primaries Pécresse endorsed former prime minister Alain Juppé.[21] Amid the Fillon affair, in March 2017, she joined Xavier Bertrand, Christian Estrosi and others in calling for Juppé to replace François Fillon as the party’s candidate.[22][23]

Ahead of the Republicans’ 2017 leadership elections, Pécresse founded her own political movement Libres! in July 2017. She also publicly opposed newly elected LR chairman Laurent Wauquiez, warning against his possible "porosity" to the far-right National Front’s (FN) ideas.[24][25] She later announced her resignation from LR on 5 June 2019, three days after Wauquiez’s resignation from the presidency of the party.[26]

In response to the Brexit vote in 2016, Pécresse helped launch an initiative of corporate leaders and politicians – including Anne Hidalgo, Gérard Mestrallet and Christian Noyer – to attract business from London.[27][28] She has since been saying publicly that France was rolling out the "red-white-and-blue carpet" for UK bankers.[29]

In 2019, Pécresse announced plans to boost the number of people in the Paris region who cycle to work by investing 100 million euros ($113 million) in new cycle lanes and infrastructure and a subsidized electric bike rental scheme before 2021.[30]

Political positions

In response to the January 2015 Île-de-France attacks, Pécresse said France needed its own version of the Patriot Act.[31]

In a 2016 op-ed published by Sunday newspaper Le Journal du Dimanche, Pécresse joined sixteen other high-profile women from across the political spectrum – , including Élisabeth Guigou, Christine Lagarde, and Fleur Pellerin – in making a public vow to expose "all sexist remarks, inappropriate gestures and behaviour."[32][33]

When founding Libres! in 2017, Pécresse told Sunday newspaper Le Journal du Dimanche she would seek to position her grouping between those who had joined Macron’s government – including Prime Minister Édouard Philippe – and those who would follow a line she called "aggressive opposition," and which has gathered around the party’s right wing.[34]

Following the murder of Samuel Paty in 2020, Pécresse argued for lifting restrictions on facial recognition and using artificial intelligence to fight terrorism on public transport networks.[35]

Also in 2020, Pécresse expressed her opposition against mail-in voting to facilitate voting during the public health crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic in France.[36]

Personal life

Pécresse has been married to former investment banker and Alstom manager Jérôme Pécresse since 1994. The couple has three children.[37]


  1. Victor Mallet (1 July 2020), French centre-right faces identity crisis Financial Times.
  2. D. D. Guttenplan (22 May 2011), France Reinvesting in Universities, Education Minister Says International Herald Tribune.
  3. (in French) Valérie Pécresse, la guerrière
  4. Valérie Pécresse :Et Dieu créa la femme, Le nouvel economiste
  5. D. D. Guttenplan (22 May 2011), France Reinvesting in Universities, Education Minister Says International Herald Tribune.
  6. Valérie Pécresse :Et Dieu créa la femme, Le nouvel economiste
  7. D. D. Guttenplan (22 May 2011), France Reinvesting in Universities, Education Minister Says International Herald Tribune.
  8. FACTBOX: Results for ministers in French election Reuters, 10 June 2007.
  9. Valérie Pécresse National Assembly.
  10. D. D. Guttenplan (22 May 2011), France Reinvesting in Universities, Education Minister Says International Herald Tribune.
  11. Anna Willard (27 November 2007), French students hold fresh protests against reform Reuters.
  12. Esther Bintliff (15 May 2009), French students rue wasted semester Financial Times.
  13. Schofiel, Hugh (22 January 2009). "New lingua franca upsets French". BBC News. Retrieved 25 January 2009.
  14. Peggy Hollinger (29 June 2011) Sarkozy prepares to name Lagarde successor Financial Times.
  15. Nicholas Vinocur (29 June 2011), French Sarkozy to name replacement finance minister Reuters.
  16. Emmanuel Jarry (29 June 2011), French govt names Baroin as new finance minister Reuters.
  17. Toby Vogel (25 April 2012) MEPs prepare to call for greater budget increase Politico Europe.
  18. Angelique Chrisafis (21 March 2011) French local elections leave Sarkozy party in disarray The Guardian.
  19. Valérie Pécresse National Assembly.
  20. Brune Jeudy (31 August 2014) Fillon en Irak pour soutenir les chrétiens d'Orient Le Journal du Dimanche.
  21. Nicholas Vinocur (3 November 2016) Alain Juppé faces toughest test yet in French TV debate Politico Europe.
  22. John Irish (5 March 2017), French conservative party heavyweights to push for Fillon alternative, says senior politician Reuters.
  23. John Irish and Andrew Callus (5 March 2017), French conservatives in disarray as Fillon clings on Reuters.
  24. Ingrid Melander (3 September 2017), 'The right is back,' says frontrunner to lead French conservatives Reuters.
  25. Kim Willsher (10 December 2017) French opposition elects hard-right leaning leader The Guardian.
  26. Marion Mourgue (5 June 2019). "Valérie Pécresse annonce sa démission des Républicains". Le Figaro. Retrieved 5 June 2019.
  27. Michael Stothard (31 October 2016), France sets up team in Brexit push to lure business from London Financial Times.
  28. Mark Deen (3 November 2016), France Sets Up One-Stop Shop for British Firms Fleeing Brexit Bloomberg News.
  29. Michael Stothard (7 July 2017), Paris rolls out ‘red-white-and-blue carpet’ for banks Financial Times.
  30. Geert De Clercq (13 March 2019), Paris region to boost cycle commuting with bike parks and e-bikes Reuters.
  31. Matt Apuzzo and Steven Erlanger (16 January 2015), Patriot Act Idea Rises in France, and Is Ridiculed New York Times.
  32. Kim Willsher (15 May 2016) French former ministers launch attack on sexism in politics The Guardian.
  33. Arnau Busquets Guàrdia (16 May 2016) Christine Lagarde, ministers warn sexual harassment ‘immunity’ in France is over Politico Europe.
  34. Emmanuel Jarry and Maya Nikolaeva (9 July 2017), French conservative heavyweight Pecresse to lead political splinter group Reuters.
  35. Nicholas Vinocur (30 October 2020), French politicians urge deployment of surveillance technology after series of attacks Politico Europe.
  36. Pierre-Paul Bermingham (16 November 2020), France split over ‘American’ mail-in ballots for 2021 regional elections Politico Europe.
  37. Anne-Sophie Lechevallier (24 August 2010) Jérôme Pécresse, le mari de Valérie Paris Match.